Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem and greetings to our beloved Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad SAW
While many of us are familiar with the celebrated Islamic months like Zulkaedah, Zulhijjah, Muharram, and Rejab, Safar is a lesser-known gem in the Islamic calendar. While it is a relatively low-key month, it is steeped in historical events, traditions, and cultural significance that deserves our attention.
Acting on this Prophetic teaching, some of the scholars took to calling the month ‘Zafar‘ (ظَفَر) instead of Safar, meaning ‘success‘ or ‘victory.‘ Others call it ‘Safar al-Khayr‘ or ‚‘the good month of Safar.‘ The term “Safar” also means “empty” or “void” and this is derived from the pre-Islamic times when the tribes in Mekkah would disperse, setting aside their battles and conflicts, in favor of seeking a peaceful environment for travel and trade. Safar thus became a month of respite and calm. In addition, Safar is also referred to as the “whistling wind”, referring to the weather conditions, as Safar tends to be the windiest month of the year.
Significance of the month
As the second month in the Islamic Hijri calendar, Safar holds a special significance. Some scholars narrate that on the last Wednesday of the month, all the tribulations of the coming year descend. They mention certain supplications to read to deflect any harm that may befall anyone such as follows:
Muslims are encouraged to make several supplications to deflect any harm that may befall them.
O Mighty in Power, O Mighty in Prowess,
O Powerful, O Powerful, O Powerful,
Submissive to Your Greatness are all of Your creatures
So (please) protect me from the evil of all Your created beings (may direct at me)
O All Kindly, O All Gracious, O All Bountiful, O Doer of all favours.
O He whom “There is no god save You.
All Glory be to You. Verily I have been a wrongdoer.
So We heard his prayer and saved him from the anguish. Thus do We save believers”,
O Allah send blessings on Muhammad and on his descendants.
Traditionally, the scholars of Tarim also hold gatherings after Asar on that day in open areas on the city’s edges. In the coming together of the people of knowledge and righteousness in places where no disobedience to Allah has taken place, there is safety from any tribulation descending. Later in the evening, light-hearted gatherings are held, which dispel any gloom that may overcome people at that time.
However, it is essential to address certain misconceptions and superstitions surrounding Safar. Some people consider it an unlucky month and avoid engaging in activities like weddings during this time. It is crucial to note that Islamic teachings do not support such beliefs. As Muslims, we firmly believe that Allah (SWT) is the best planner, and no month can inherently bring bad luck.
Educating ourselves about Safar’s history and cultural significance will dispel false beliefs and allow us to appreciate its uniqueness. Let’s embrace its importance, approach it with curiosity, and acknowledge its wisdom in the Islamic calendar.
Lessons from Historical Events in Safar
Safar holds great significance in Islamic history. It was the month when Prophet SAW left Makkah for Madinah to spread Islam’s teachings. Years later, it was also the month when Prophet Muhammad SAW fell ill before passing away in Rabi al-Awwal. Thus Safar is a good time for us to revisit the Seerah’s last days and reflect on the Prophet’s SAW farewell sermons, offering valuable lessons for Muslims to contemplate. Other key significant events that took place in Safar and its lessons that transcend for us are as follows:
In Safar, two significant marriages took place in Islamic history. Prophet Muhammad SAW married Saidatina Khadijah RA, dispelling any notion of Safar being unlucky. His marriage to Saidatina Aisyah R.A to Prophet SAW occurred in the same month years later. When Saidatina Aishah R.A was asked whether it was true that marrying in the month of Safar would bring bad luck, she indicated that the Prophet SAQ married her in the month of Safar and she was the luckiest woman by marrying the Messenger of Allah. Safar also saw the marriage of the Prophet’s daughter, Saidatina Fatimah, to Saidina Ali, symbolizing a blessed union and reinforcing the importance of family bonds in Islam. These marriages urge us to reject superstitions and embrace Allah’s wisdom in our relationships and choices.
The Battle of Abwaa
The Battle of Abwaa fought in the second year after the Hijrah, was a critical moment in early Islamic history. In this battle, the Muslim community faced the Quraysh tribe near Abwa, between Makkah and Madinah. The Quraysh were the tribe that opposed the early Muslim community and had persecuted the Muslims in Makkah before the migration to Medina.
Prophet Muhammad’s SAW exemplary leadership inspired unwavering faith and unity among the Muslims during the Battle of Abwaa. The battle-tested their resilience and taught them the importance of faith, unity, and strategic planning in facing challenges. The bravery and determination of the early Muslim community stand as an enduring source of inspiration, showing how faith, leadership, and unity can lead to triumph in trials.
The Expedition of Banu Qaynuqa:
The Banu Qaynuqa tribe, known for their craftsmanship in Madinah, had a treaty with the Muslims ensuring peaceful coexistence. However, they violated the treaty by engaging in hostile actions against the Muslim community. In response, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) sought a peaceful resolution, but when their defiance persisted, he took decisive action, leading to their expulsion from Madinah.
Prophet Muhammad’s SAW leadership inspired unity and faith during the Battle of Abwaa, testing resilience and emphasizing strategic planning. The early Muslim community’s bravery and determination remain an enduring source of inspiration, showcasing triumph through faith, leadership, and unity.
The Battle of Buwaib
In the second year after the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad SAW from Makkah to Madinah, a military encounter occurred with the Quraysh tribe near Abwa. The Quraysh were the tribe that opposed the early Muslim community and had persecuted the Muslims in Makkah before the migration to Madinah.
Despite being outnumbered, the Muslims displayed unwavering dedication to their faith and trust in Allah’s support. Led by Prophet Muhammad SAW, they exhibited military prowess, unity, and courage on the battlefield. The battle serves as a timeless reminder for Muslims to uphold their principles, remain steadfast in their faith, and confront life’s challenges with unwavering devotion and bravery, trusting Allah’s guidance and support.
Recommended Practices for Muslims in Safar
During Safar, Muslims are encouraged to embrace various practices that foster spiritual growth and strengthen their connection with Allah:
Seeking Knowledge: Safar presents an excellent opportunity for Muslims to deepen their understanding of Islam. They can engage in religious education, and attend classes, seminars, or workshops to enhance their knowledge of the Quran and Islamic principles. Learning about the Prophet’s SAW life and teachings can inspire believers to follow his example and embody the virtues of compassion, patience, and kindness.
Voluntary Fasting: While not obligatory like Ramadan, Muslims can undertake voluntary fasts during Safar, particularly on the white days (13th, 14th, and 15th of each lunar month). By abstaining from food and drink during these days, believers cultivate self-discipline, drawing closer to Allah through heightened devotion and self-reflection. Such fasts offer an opportunity for spiritual cleansing and help develop empathy for the less fortunate, reinforcing the significance of charity during this month.
Giving Charity: Safar is regarded as a month of blessings, making it an ideal time for Muslims to engage in acts of charity and kindness. By giving to those in need, such as the poor, the hungry, and the destitute, believers practice generosity and demonstrate compassion for their fellow human beings. Even small acts of kindness, like sharing a meal or offering a helping hand, hold immense value in Islam and serve to strengthen community bonds.
Seeking Protection and Blessings: In the Islamic tradition, reciting specific supplications and seeking protection and blessings from Allah is a common practice during Safar. These supplications can be found in authentic Hadith literature and serve as a means to strengthen one’s faith and seek divine support in times of difficulty. By turning to Allah and seeking His guidance and protection, Muslims find solace and comfort, reaffirming their belief in their Creator’s divine wisdom and mercy.
Embracing Safar to enhance spiritual strength with Allah
Safar invites us to learn from the lessons of the past and grow spiritually, reminding us of our commitment to faith and the teachings of Islam. It is a month of opportunity, introspection, and rekindling the flame of devotion in our hearts, guiding us on a journey of self-improvement and strengthening our bond with Allah. As we navigate the journey through Safar, let us embrace its rich history, cultural significance, and the timeless wisdom it offers to us Muslims around the world.